Netflix offers behind-the-scenes videos of the making of Sherlock on BBC. In those videos, at the start of a shot on set, the clapperboard is held level while the information is read aloud, and then the clapperboard is tipped to one side before being clapped.

I've only ever noticed clapperboards being held level (or upside down at the end of a take). What is the purpose or significance of tipping the clapperboard slightly before clapping it?

  • Not sure but I think its a variation of when they tilt it forward so that lights won't reflect off it and into the camera lens. bhphotovideo.com/explora/video/tips-and-solutions/… Jul 29 '19 at 19:57
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    Completely a guess - when reviewing the shots, you can tell quickly when the clap is about to happen, because it’s a beat after the tilt, so if you are trying to find the clap for sync, you don’t have to watch the whole slating process, you just scrub to the tilt and go from there. Jul 30 '19 at 5:08
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    Additional tidbit: this might be a BBC thing. I did some web searches and came across the exact same question on another site but it was about a Doctor Who shoot. The question did not get a good answer there. Hoping we have a current or former BBC 2nd assistant camera around here. Jul 30 '19 at 5:15
  • It's a more natural "clapping" movement when being held by left and right hands, since we don't have top and bottom hands? Jul 31 '19 at 15:35
  • Maybe if the editor is searching for the place to prepare to cut and is fast-forwarding the shot, he will notice the tilt and stop the playback and will end up exactly at the spot before the clap. Without the clap, he would have to reverse the footage after noticing the shot has started. This could have been tricky to reverse in analog editing.
    – TK-421
    Aug 8 '19 at 5:56

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